Forging a Protoss Capital Ship

General Discussion
Hi! I've just recently finished a write-up about Protoss capital ships, and their past, present, and future. It is a very long read and contains some extremely in depth analysis of unit design, but I believe it makes some very valid points that Blizzard (and people in general) should see. Don't be discouraged by its length!

http://www.teamliquid.net/blogs/viewblog.php?topic_id=362676

EDIT: As requested I've added the actual write-up to this post. I'd encourage you to read it on Teamliquid however, has it has pictures/better formatting to make it easier to read.

EDIT 2: I'm going to be adding some further explanations/justifications on things I failed to elaborate on and my retorts to some general counterarguments/concerns/issues to a subsection at the bottom of this post. This includes a more in-depth explanation of why the Carrier and the Colossus share similar roles, which I encourage people to read as I failed to substantially explain why in the write-up as it stands.

___________________________________________________________________________

Hi! Today we're going to have a discussion about Protoss capital ships. Their past, present, and future. This is going to be a long read and contain some pretty in depth analysis of unit design, so get comfortable. Before I begin, I'm going to address a concern I imagine people might have and then introduce the rules this analysis and exploration of design will adhere to.

“We can't talk about Heart of the Swarm units until the beta comes out. Anyone who discusses balance right now is absurd.”

I absolutely agree. However, balance is going to have a very minimal role in this discussion. I'm going to be looking very thoroughly at the design of these units.

So what's the difference?

  • Balance usually involves more than one race. Obviously for something to be “imbalanced” there has to be another race with which the unit in question is being examined. Here, we're talking about only a few units belonging to one race. This will make it easier to see whether and how the unit in question is working towards the objectives of its design.
  • Balance usually has to do with numbers. Attack damage, health, build time, cost, movement speed, range (remember this one in particular). These are all variables used to balance the design of a unit with what the other races have to offer.

  • Design, on the other hand, usually revolves around the form, function, and "fun factor" of a unit.

  • Function: What is the purpose of a unit? What objectives is it designed to accomplish? What tools has it been given to accomplish those objectives? How do those tools function?
  • Form: What is the physical design of the unit? Is it large or small, quick or slow, air or ground? Do these attributes help it accomplish its intended function?
  • Fun Factor: Is it fun? Is it tedious, repetitive, overly complex, or difficult to use?

  • Now obviously things aren't that black and white. Balance and design overlap and run into one another often and loudly. Sometimes a balance change can alter the design of a unit or spell. Sometimes the design of a unit can make it incredibly hard to balance. For example, having a single target attack versus an AoE attack is a design decision. However if in a patch we were to decrease the radius of that attack, it can function both as a design and a balance change. I try, quite furiously actually, to stay on the design side of things as much as possible, but sometimes things will fall into the "balance" category. For example, I will discuss other races or the units of other races at certain points, but it is largely to explore or clarify the implications of certain design choices. I will also directly talk about unit balancing in some places, but it is largely to make certain points regarding the unit's design. Balance is here, but it very much takes a backseat role throughout this discussion.

    ___________________________THE RULES______________________________

    Do not combat Blizzard's design or design philosophy.

  • Blizzard's games are simple and visceral. "Easy to learn, difficult to master." We cannot at any point contradict that philosophy.
  • Ultimately no idea or suggestion, however awesome it may be, will ever be viable if it contradicts Blizzard's own work or how they want to shape the game.
    Starcraft 2 belongs to Blizzard. Therefore, in our examination and exploration of these units' design, we will not at any point discuss anything or suggest anything that might contradict Blizzard's intended objectives for each unit. For example, were I writing about the Oracle, at the end of the day the unit can only fulfill the original objectives Blizzard meant it to fill. For the Oracle, I'd imagine that would mean "harassment" or "base defense and indirect offensive potential" (via Cloaking Field). Thankfully Blizzard has made it very clear what the design objectives of their Protoss capital ship is.


  • And that's that. Ready to get started? Let's begin our analysis with the Carrier as it stands.

    ______________________________THE CARRIER_____________________________

    The Carrier as it stands is fairly identical to its Brood War counterpart. However, there are some minor differences, several of which the community has been particularly vocal about in frustration, as they in fact hinder the Carrier from performing as well as it could have throughout WoL. I won't discuss those differences here. Instead let's examine the role the Carrier performs in the Protoss arsenal as it stands.

    The Carrier is designed to be...

  • An expensive, high tech, powerful flying unit
  • A proficient and versatile indirect combatant (it launches Interceptors which fight for it) with siege capability
  • Vulnerable against anti-armored/anti-massive units, such as the Viking or Corruptor

  • Blizzard however is tentatively planning on removing the Carrier in Heart of the Swarm.

    Taken from David Kim's "Questions from the Community":

    “The biggest problem we still have with the carrier is that we can’t identify a meaningful role for the unit. It fills a similar niche as the colossus in terms of the tech level and role it provides. Both are siege range units, but the colossus is splash damage, is a lot faster in coming into play, is less of a risk to bring out, and because of how common colossi are in protoss games, counter units such as corruptors or vikings are already available, making carriers even less viable. We could just do a straight numbers buff on the carrier, but we don’t really think that’ll change too much for the reasons mentioned above. Therefore, we believe the best way to solve this issue is to either change the design of the carrier after locating a viable end game role for the unit or to just bring in a completely new unit that will actually be useful in the late game by removing the carrier.”

    Blizzard claims the Colossus currently fulfills all the same functions the Carrier does except better. Are they right to think this?

    Absolutely. Let's look at Colossi.

    The Colossus is...

  • An expensive, high tech, powerful ground unit
  • A proficient and versatile indirect combatant (it stands back firing whilst other units protect it) with siege capability
  • Vulnerable against anti-armored/anti-massive units, such as the Viking or Corruptor

  • That looks strangely familiar. The Colossus possesses almost every single quality the Carrier did. Obviously the unit doesn't fly like the Carrier does, but for the primary units intended to counter it, the Colossus functions almost exactly like an air unit. I'm sorry to say it, but Blizzard is absolutely positively one hundred percent justified in looking into a either a replacement for or a repurposing of the Carrier. The Colossus fills extremely similar objectives in a far more adept manner. It would seem the Carrier is destined for retirement, and we must instead look to the future of Protoss air technology. As made clear by the statement from David Kim, we have three options for that future:

  • The Carrier as it stands
  • A new unit (the Tempest)
  • A repurposed Carrier

  • As shown here, the Carrier as it stands has quite a bit of issues and I don't believe it's Blizzard's preferred option at this point. They're hoping the Tempests can lead the Protoss fleets.

    ________________________________THE TEMPEST___________________________

    The Tempest is Blizzard's currently planned replacement for the Carrier. It actually retains several qualities from the Carrier, such as its general durability and relatively high speed (for a capital ship). However, according to Blizzard, the Tempest is designed to...

  • Use an extremely long range attack to force opponents into unfavorable engagements by damaging or destroying high priority units from a distance.
  • Serve more as a "strategic" unit rather than a "tactical" unit, thereby functioning in part as a form of zone control and map presence

  • Now before we continue I want to emphasize how unique and original this combination of objectives are for a unit. Starcraft has never had a unit with range longer than the siege tank, and now it's potentially receiving one with vastly greater range. Whether or not you think that is a good addition to the game, you cannot say it doesn't pique your interest. But that isn't just it. Blizzard also wants the unit to possess some map presence, acting in part as a form of territory control. The "purpose" of the Tempest is by far one of the most interesting combination of objectives I've seen from a unit in an RTS thus far.

    Now I suppose the question to be asked is, "Does the Tempest fulfill this function?"

    I am going to demonstrate to you why the Tempest, given its current overall design, is incapable of accomplishing both of its directives in any fulfilling way.

    As it stands, the Tempest possesses a slow, high damage and long range single target attack. Here is where we run into our first issue with the unit. As long as the Tempest is dealing single target damage, it is impossible for the unit to serve as both zone control and long range gradual siege.

    In order to maintain presence in an area, a unit needs to be able to punish opposing forces that come within its territory, just as a Siege Tank deters Roaches from entering its firing range without a directly offensive intent (either to destroy the tank itself or cause some sort of damage). Many people loved watching Brood War because it centered in part around zone control. Zone control units have some sort of severe disadvantage (the setup time and low speed of Tanks, for example) which balanced out their incredible ability to punish units that entered the area they were controlling. Wasted or damaged units are never helpful, so players fighting against zone control units literally could not enter the territory those units controlled without a serious intent to do some damage.

    With a single target damage model, the Tempest will have to have a monstrous single target damage output in order to be capable of punishing groups of counterattacking/flanking units (the kind of units zone control is primarily aimed at) severely enough to deter them. The problem being that the Tempest then becomes an absolutely absurd siege unit, given its extreme range. Similarly, if you lower the damage of the Tempest to an approriately low level given its range then the unit loses almost all of its zone control capacity, as it simply cannot punish groups of smaller units anymore. At the end of the day, smaller, quicker, nonmassive units will primarily be the kind of units you need to repel with a zone control unit. There is little value to be had in a zone control unit that only controls zones against slow mech units or massive units like Broodlords because these types of units usually only move into your territory when they already possess the intent of damaging or destroying your base/army. This bypasses the zone control dynamic which is centered around the dilemna a zone control unit forces upon an opposing player: should I or shouldn't I attack? This is what a zone control unit (like the Siege Tank, the Lurker, the new Swarm Host, etc) does by definition, and you can see this in Starcraft almost any time a tank is used in TvZ, TvT, or TvP. With a single target damage model the Tempest cannot fulfill this function.

    The next thing to explore would be giving the Tempest an AoE attack. Tanks, lurkers, and Colossi have one, all of which function both as zone control and siege units (the Colossus less so). This would seemingly fix a lot of the issues with the unit. The Tempest could be given a decent AoE damage attack with a bonus against some particular unit type (anti-massive, anti-armored, or anti-light to emulate the Thor-Broodlord relationship), so as to be capable of deterring units and controlling zones and then forcing engagements from opponents in the later game stages by damaging or destroying their slow, high tech units. However this option creates a whole different problem altogether. In Starcraft 2, units have a tendency to clump up tremendously. A large part of proper unit control and micro during battles is to spread out your units so as to maximize their effectiveness. However people will only do this during moments of combat, as the unit AI and pathing make it exceptionally difficult to space your army out while moving them as a group. If we assume our Protoss player has vision of these units while they are clumped up (especially air units like Broodlords), and THEN attacks with his Tempest, massive damage is going to ensue. The opposing player has no way of knowing when the Tempest is about to hit his units. The Tempest would often end up hitting a number of units with its AoE attack that its damage is not balanced around hitting. However if you try to balance the damage around this happening and lower the damage, then the Tempest becomes increasingly ineffective against players of higher skill levels. But if the damage isn't lowered, an AoE attack on the Tempest opens up the possibility for some serious abuse and issues due to Starcraft 2's pathing and unit clumping. Now while I'm sure it'd be amusing as hell for a Protoss player, I can't say that being forced to split your units with almost every movement of them out of fear of taking a Tempest blast is a particularly enticing idea. For the better players its tedious, for the lower level players impractical.

    Given the aforementioned concerns, I imagine the next aspect of the unit to explore would be the speed of its projectile.What if we could slow down the speed at which the Tempest's attack actually travels, allowing players to see the AoE “blast” coming and spread their units in anticipation? Players could avoid the more extreme levels of damage the unit could potentially deal and some interesting micro possibilities are introduced. This is another seemingly solid idea, but the core issues at hand remain unaddressed. You receive a sound warning when your units are attacked, not when they're just about to be or when the Tempest fires its weapon. That means in order prevent the more abusive levels of damage you'll need to be capable of playing quite quickly, having to constantly check your army as they move to avoid Tempest blasts on your units while they're clumped.The Tempest is now extremely difficult to counteract at the lower levels, as players simply do not have the mechanical capacity to check their army regularly or split their units appropriately and consistently. In addition to that, just as a lower projectile speed allows (higher level) players to spread their slow, high tier units in preparation, they are now allowed time to mitigate the damage for their smaller, faster, counterattacking/flanking units. The Tempest would lose a large portion of its ability to control territory, as the units it is attempting to deter can now outrun or outmaneuver (via unit splitting) its slow traveling AoE attack.

    There is a general counterargument to be made for both types of damage delivery methods (single target, AoE). That while Tempests in smaller numbers might be ineffective at zone control, as the number of Tempests a player controls increases they'll be more capable of controlling zones as their Tempests will collectively possibly be able to put out enough damage to deter smaller, faster units. This is the only realistic model around which to build the unit, and likely to be the one Blizzard is pursuing. However, cost and supply efficiency become huge issues in this model, considering the Tempest's necessarily high resource and supply costs (as a high tech capital ship). Furthermore the Tempest recaptures one of the primary downfalls of the current Carrier: relative ineffectiveness in smaller numbers. Later game stages will be required in order for players to have the infrastructure and resources to produce large quantities of Tempests (as with Carriers and Battlecruisers and so on). In these super late game stages where players build massive, slower, and higher tech armies zone control becomes less relevant, and thus the Tempest fails to deliver any meaningful contribution towards its secondary objective.

    The easy solution to this problem would honestly be to ignore or forgo the Tempest's secondary objective, instead gearing it to be used purely for long range, gradual siege. I seriously hope Blizzard does not default to this. In my personal opinion, "pester the enemy into attacking you" is not a particularly enthralling sole function for a unit, nor a particularly inspiring display of technological prowess on behalf of the Protoss, who are renowned for the grandeur and power of their war machines.

    Make no mistake, even if the Tempest ended up being designed purely for this role, it would still be undeniably useful in the later game stages. However, the unit would be relegated to a very specific, very niche role, as building it at other points in the game would be sub optimal if not wasteful. Historically speaking, niche units have not performed particularly well throughout Starcraft 2 thus far. The Void Ray, for example, is a niche unit that has seen rather minimal play. The Void Ray is admittedly used as an opening in Protoss versus Zerg matches with moderate regularity, but the purpose behind its use is to abuse Zerg's lack of early game anti-air, rather than to fulfill the original objectives behind the unit's design. I fear that with such a niche, super-late game role, the Tempest will devolve into a similar usage: abusing select vulnerabilities in a race at very specific points in the game rather than consistently accomplishing its directive(s) in any satisfying way.

    Blizzard may decide to absolve the Tempest of its current secondary objective in favor of a new one. It is against the rules of my analysis to deviate from the original design objectives, so I won't explore the possibilities of what they could do with it. Were they to do it, I honestly wouldn't fault them for it. However, that having been said, the combination of zone control and long range gradual siege objectives is an absolutely enthralling concept to build a unit on and offers Protoss love in some duly needed areas (as I'm sure they've intended).

    And so, we've looked at the Tempest with single target damage, AoE damage, different projectile speeds, and the possible elimination of its secondary objective. Now I won't say it isn't doable, but as it stands, the Tempest is flawed. This is ultimately because the medium through which it functions (conventional unit attack mechanics) just doesn't seem capable of fulling Blizzard's objectives for the unit. Blizzard intends this new capital ship to fill some holes in Protoss play by possessing long range gradual siege damage potential with secondary map presence/zone control capability. This is such a bizzare and original combination of objectives for a unit, so we need a more bizzare answer. We need something with a little more unique method of delivery. So where does that leave us?

    Well, it leaves us with Carrier. Not the Carrier as it is, but instead how it could be.

    ___________________________THE CARRIER AS IT COULD BE________________________

    Before I started my examination I described the rules to which my design analysis and exploration must adhere. One of these rules was not to combat Blizzard's design. Now Blizzard is trying to design a Protoss capital ship that they feel will patch some of the holes in the race as it stands. This Protoss capital ship's "viable end game role" that they're building the Tempest to fill is to force unfavorable engagements from opposing players by gradually sieging their units from an extreme distance whilst secondarily providing map presence and zone control.

    I honestly believe we can repurpose the Carrier to fulfill this very unique and enthralling combination of objectives perfectly, with all the flavor, coolness, and grandeur the Carriers provide via their and their Interceptors brilliant aesthetic, awesome culture, and unique design.

    Interestingly enough, my possible solution is actually inspired by the Swarm Host. Not to demean the Swarm Host, as it is an absolutely awesome unit, but as soon as I saw how the Swarm Host functioned I immediately thought of the Carrier. Here is a unit that serves as a host, or a launching point almost for several smaller units which actually do all the damage. That sounds like something a Carrier could do. So, we're going to draw some inspiration from the Swarm Host in order to repurpose our Carrier towards our Protoss capital ship design objectives.

    Obviously the Carrier can't just be a flying Swarm Host. Hell that'd still be interesting, but we have objectives we need to fulfill with our design and while we can borrow inspiration from the Swarm Host, our Carrier needs to be appropriately distinct from it in how it functions. So what should be do? When in doubt, trust your feelings. My feelings tell me that the Protoss don't seem like a particularly wasteful or swarm-like race, so what if Interceptors were deployed in a manner similar to locusts, but could be recalled back to the Carrier? Now I don't know about you, but that sounds quite intriguing. Our secondary objective with this unit is zone control and map presence. Assuming we had a finished Carrier with a deployment/recall feature, and that Carriers remain fairly quick (as all Protoss capital ship options have been thus far), you could essentially rally your interceptors to a location, move the Carrier to another location and then recall them, literally shaping the area of the zone youre controlling.

    Now admittedly that's a rather vague picture and there is still a dozen different questions to answer. However the best part about this idea is that there are seemingly dozens of different ways you could build this unit, each having different possibilities and drawbacks and each of which deviate from the initial Swarm Host design a different amount. There are a ton of different options, all of them interesting, which really allows Blizzard (in the extremely unlikely scenario they would pursue this idea) to shape and mold the Carrier to fulfill its objectives in any way they so desire and aid the Protoss arsenal in any way they deem necessary. So how could Interceptors function? What could they be targeted towards? Here are some possible ideas:

  • Interceptors can either self-destruct after a timer as locusts do, be forced to return to the Carrier after their timer expires, or be like static units (maintaining the Interceptor maintenance from the original Carrier)
  • Interceptors are deployed from the Carrier in an attack-move command similar to Locusts
  • Interceptors can be "recalled", issuing a movement command back into the Carrier
  • Interceptors could patrol back and forth between a Carried and its targeted deployment location


  • These are just different ideas as to how you could control the Interceptors through the Carrier. Through having more/less/different possible commands the Carrier can give to its Interceptors, we can balance the micro possibilities (skill cap) and accessibility (ease of use) of the unit.

  • Interceptors cost individual minerals and build separately, as they do now.
  • An Interceptor deployment could cost a one-time mineral fee, creating Interceptors simultaneously (So as to make Interceptor maintenance either more accessible for less mechanically skilled players)
  • Interceptors cost no minerals, and instead are created individually or collectively on a timed basis.
  • The Carrier could have energy, which Interceptors cost.***

  • *** In the "Carrier as a spellcaster" iteration, Interceptors could be directed at one pf the unit's design objectives whilst a new spell could be created intended for the other. For example, the Interceptors could be geared towards the zone control/map presence objective while the Carrier uses a completely different spell/ability for long range gradual siege/high priority target sniping. Or it could be the other way around.***

    We've looked at some possibilities for how Interceptors are created or controlled, but what about the Interceptors themselves? What are they like? How do they do their job?

  • The Carrier could carry more or less Interceptors, which can become accordingly either larger or smaller visually.
  • The Interceptors can can be automated or manually controlled and "tethered" to the Carrier
  • There can be different types of Interceptors, each geared towards one of the Carrier's design objectives. For example, an anti-massive Interceptor for long range gradual siege and an anti-armored/anti-light Interceptor for zone control.
  • The Carrier could possess an alternate attack directed towards one of its objectives and Interceptors for accomplishing another.***

  • *** If Blizzard wanted to borrow more from the Tempest, they could, for example, direct Interceptors towards zone control whilst giving the Carrier an energy attack similar to the Tempest (i.e., directed very specifically at massive/select high tech units). Interestingly enough this would actually fit quite well with Starcraft lore as while Carriers "lack weapon batteries or armaments...[they] possess energy weaponry fired from their bows, used in the purification of planets." (Taken from the Starcraft wiki Carrier page)***


    We haven't even looked at what kind of damage the Interceptors do, whether they're fast or slow, whether they have bonus damage against a specific unit type, the range of their deployment, or how durable or delicate the Carrier itself it, how fast it moves, whether it can launch and recall Interceptors while moving or if it needs to remain stationary while doing so, and so on so forth. From this giant pool of possibilities, we can pick and choose attributes and features for our Carrier, slowly molding it into the perfect fit for the role the Protoss capital ship is currently set to fill in HOTS. I'm going to leave that task be for now. My goal was to introduce the idea, not to finalize the unit. That having been said, there are still some interesting points left worth mentioning.

    This unit idea is very close to breaking one of the rules I established before we began: units must be visceral and simple. The capital ship we've started here is potentially a very complex unit (hence why in my brainstorm I included many ideas to increase accessibility/ease of use). I'll admit that molding this unit to accomplish its objectives while maintaining accessibility will be a challenging task and require some creative thinking. That having been said, it is by no means impossible, and in my opinion easier than getting the Tempest to accomplish its directives in a fulfilling manner.

    Now while I'm sure my ideas have caught some peoples' interest, others might remain skeptical. I'm going to give two examples of why this idea is so potentially awesome.

      1) Earlier during my examination of the Tempest I pointed out how difficult it is to find an appropriate level of damage and method of delivery (AoE, single target, etc) that can accomplish the unit's objectives given conventional unit attack mechanics without being over or underpowered. The Tempest simply cannot have a high damage output, elsewise it would be too powerful in its Siege role. The unit simply needs to have a low, gradual damage output, but in turn this makes it incredibly difficult to tailor the Tempest for zone control as well. Doesn't the Carrier essentially deal single target damage as well?

      Now this is where the idea of using the Carrier really shines. Lets assume a basic "only Interceptors" model (no alternate attack, spells, or alternate Interceptor types).Because of how interceptors are sent away from the Carrier in order for it to deal its damage we have completely bypassed the core issue with the Tempest. We have separated the source of the unit's damage from the unit itself. Now this has two important implications. Firstly that the "gradual" aspect of the units long range damage component is derived not from a sluggish attack speed, but instead from the travel time of the interceptors to their targets(and possibly from if they're designed to have a "fuel" like timer). This allows us to make our Interceptors strong enough to function as zone control while still limiting its damage output at the more extreme distances from the Carrier.


      2) The second reason really demonstrate's why the "Carrier with the Tempest's role" design basis is so awesome. Now this is admittedly significantly less analysis and more theory, but I think it shows an interesting advantage (this Carrier idea has lots of theses) our "damage source separated from unit" Carrier model has over over the Tempest and its conventional unit attack mechanic model. If we look back to our David Kim quote we can notice an interesting little oddity I've waited to mention until now...

      "...and because of how common colossi are in protoss games, counter units such as corruptors or vikings are already available, making carriers even less viable. We could just do a straight numbers buff on the carrier, but we don’t really think that’ll change too much for the reasons mentioned above.Therefore, we believe the best way to solve this issue is to either change the design of the carrier after locating a viable end game role for the unit or to just bring in a completely new unit that will actually be useful in the late game by removing the carrier."

      It would appear that one of the Carrier issues that contributed to them deciding to remove the unit was that Colossi were popular to the point of Terran players often already having Vikings on the field, disincentivizing players from transitioning at any point into Carriers. Curiously, however, it seems that in the recently released TvP HOTS Battle Report the Terran player was primarily using Vikings to counteract the Tempest. And how couldn't he? Vikings deal excellent damage against massive, armored targets like the Tempest (such as the Broodlord, the Colossus, etc). Blizzard has seemingly ended up with one of the exact issues they had on the Carrier on their brand new unit. Interestingly, this is where the design basis of the Tempest (a zone control and long range gradual siege unit) really shows its brilliance. Firstly, by replacing the Carrier with a unit meant to be usually behind or generally separated from your army, Blizzard has essentially pulled a unit out of the deathball. An unsurprising move, considering how many of the HOTS units are meant to be used outside of the deathball (Swarm Hosts, Oracles, etc). Secondly Blizzard knows that due to the viability and versatility of the Colossus, a Protoss capital ship will almost always have the issue of Vikings already being out on the field. The Vikings(or Corruptors, for that matter) are effective against Colossi because they are massive, armored, and to the Vikings, an air unit. This is exactly what any capital ship will be. So what did Blizzard do?

      They brought in the Tempest. The Tempest's design as a long range gradual siege unit allows it to be less severely negated by preexisting Vikings on the field. As mentioned before, due to its extremely long range but vulnerable nature, Tempests are intended to often be away from or behind the army. Because of this design choice, while Vikings still counter the unit quite effectively, they are required to be used in an entirely different way than they have before in the matchup, creating some very exciting new gameplay possibilities. Terran players are intended to have their Vikings separated from their army (oncemore, anti-deathball design choices) as they roam the map to pick off vulnerable Tempests. However it doesn't stop there. Seeing how the Protoss player has invested in these powerful and expensive units, he isn't particularly inclined to let Terran players just snipe them with their Vikings. So the Protoss unit makes an active effort to deter those Vikings with units of his own. Again, units out of the deathball. Its unfortunate to see that the Tempest's flaw of only possessing only conventional unit attack mechanics is preventing it from doing all these things that I believe it was intended to do. This is ultimately is why any Protoss capital ship unit cannot be a direct combat unit in a fully functional manner so long as the Colossus exists. This is also why the basis for the design of the Tempest is a brilliant move by Blizzard and the solution to our Protoss capital ship dilemma

      Now our Carrier design adds to this already fascinating dynamic even more. Our Carrier's damage source, the Interceptors, is actually separated from the Carrier itself. In fact, in order for the Carrier to fulfill any of its intended objectives, it obviously needs to use its Interceptors. Here is the advantage with this model for a long range gradual siege unit. While Vikings are intended to flank Tempests, they aren't quite as incentivized to do so as they could be. Even though the Tempest has a very slow firing rate, it is still quite capable of damaging the Vikings as they try to flank it. As Starcraft2 Terran versus Protoss stands, Vikings are quite an investment and any time you lose a Viking or get your Vikings unnecessarily damaged is never good. The Tempest's capacity for retaliation adds another layer of risk, making the Viking flanking strategy not as optimal as it should be. By separating the source of our damage from the Carrier itself, we have removed this layer of risk and added another strategic element: the location of the Interceptors. If the Interceptors are deployed and away from the Carrier, the Vikings are given the perfect opportunity to strike without suffering any retaliation. Protoss players then might deploy their Interceptors closer, or not at all, in which case the Vikings have already effectively counteracted if not deterred the Carriers themselves. Suffice it to say, our Carriers "damage source separate from unit" model has a lot to offer in the Tempest's a long range gradual siege/zone control unit role.


    ____________________________________________________________________________

    So let's recap:

  • The Carrier as it stands, while different from the Colossus in how it functions, serves a very similar role in a less effective manner.
  • The Tempest as it stands, using conventional attack mechanics, cannot be balanced/designed such that it can accomplish both of its design objectives in any meaningful way.
  • We can repurpose the Carrier to fit the exact (new) role Blizzard is gearing the Tempest towards, whilst enhancing many of the dynamics the unit is intended to introduce.

  • ____________________________________________________________________________
    And that's all I got. I'm sure I'll need to edit this again, but I think I've made my arguments sufficiently clear and succinct (lol). As I've said earlier, I've only introduced the basis for the design of this new Carrier. In the absurdly unlikely scenario that Blizzard decides to take a look at any of these ideas, introducing a basis for a unit rather than the entirety of the unit itself makes it much more approachable for them, and given how many design options there are with this model, allows them to take the unit in any direction they so desire.

    Now I'll admit, repurposing the Carrier to fill the Tempest's role won't be easy. There are a bunch of potential snares, complications, and contingencies to account for as the unit gets built, simply due out-of-the-box design this combination of unit objectives, long range gradual siege and zone control, require. However, Blizzard is absolutely capable doing it. Blizzard is a company of exceptional game-makers, and I implore them to be daring, as they have thus far in their new unit design for HOTS (as clearly demonstrated by the Tempest, the Oracle, the Swarm Host, etc.) Timidity in the face of adversity never incurs greatness, and the rewards of successfully completing this unit are indeed great. The Protoss race will receive the tools in their arsenal Blizzard intended to give them with the Tempest, and the community will rejoice to see the Carrier in the game and with a new design. I actually loved the Tempest when I saw it simply because I saw what the unit was trying to accomplish, but as somebody who played the original Starcraft and Brood War, I would be lying if I said I wouldn't miss the Carrier. In the heat of a Starcraft game, few things resonate and uplift the player, terrify his opponent, and excite the fans as much as the stern voice of a Protoss pilot proclaiming...


    "Carrier has arrived."


    ________________________________________________________________________

    One area where I disagree with you is how much the Carrier needs to change. Blizzard has a philosophy that if you change you unit to much you have to ask yourself if its still the same unit. I believe there is allot of grey area in whats too much change. Perhaps the fans love of the Carrier should mean that the Carrier can undergo more change than a unit normally would.

    On the other hand we all remember the fan backlash when the Carrier was given the old Tempests unit model. Changing an iconic unit can start to diminish what made it iconic in the first place. Ultimately, I dont think im decided yet on how far you can change the Carrier before it stops being the Carrier but I would much rather see some change attempted than just tossing out the Carrier without trying anything.


    This is a very noteworthy concern. What exactly is the Carrier? At what point is it no longer what people like about it? Admittedly, different people like different things about the Carrier. Some people like how the unit functions as it is. Some people like all the awesome micro tricks and whatnot you could do with the Carrier in Brood War. Some people just like the lore, or the idea of the unit. Changing the Carrier to keep it in cannot and will not appease everybody, but I believe it does a pretty good job of appeasing most people. We keep the unit itself firstly, so anyone who likes the lore/the idea of the unit itself is content. We also keep the Interceptors and a large part of their relationship to the Carrier. The unit will in no way function as it did in Brood War or does now, but it can potentially have a very high skill cap and some very interesting potential usage. Keeping that in mind I think we've done a good job of keeping most people happy. Especially Blizzard who can keep the purpose and role they wanted the Tempest to fulfill without having to remove such an iconic unit.



    From "Krieger" off the Reddit thread:


    "As usual nobody talks about how the Colossus does not fill the same role as the Carrier, as it cannot shoot air.
    The only effective anti-air Protoss has is Blink Stalkers, and then only if you have a lot of them.
    Phoenix and Void Ray are only useful at the start of a game, otherwise they require an expensive tech switch and a long expensive wait for them to be produced in sufficient numbers.
    For the late game there are only Psi Storms and Archon Toilets which require huge amounts of energy and gas, and more importantly, time and micro.
    HOTS really needs to give Protoss some effective anti-air."


    My response:

    I'm going to work on incorporating this into my write-up.

    In the beginning of my write-up I discuss the Carrier vs. Colossus situation, and explain how the units roles/objectives overlap to the point of requiring the Carrier's removal. In retrospect however, I have completely failed to explain the reasoning as extensively as the subject requires. Let me clarify why the Colossus and the Carrier share similar roles. I apologize in advance for the length of this but I've had quite a few people disagreeing with the idea of the Colossus and the Carrier sharing roles, so I want to make it abundantly clear why it is so.

    Firstly it is important to point out that adding the capacity to attack a particular unit type (flying/ground) doesn't always actually affect or impact the role and/or objectives of the unit. In most cases however, it obviously does.

    For example, if we were to grant the Viking the ability to shoot ground units, the manner in which it is used would changed entirely. Its role would become entirely different, as it can now be used to counteract units like Stalkers, Tanks, or what have you. That is because the primary design objective of the Viking is to use a long range and powerful ranged attack to counteract armored, heavier flying units. Its ground mode form also allows it to be used to moderate effect as a general ground combat unit and allow it some possible harassment potential: these are the ulterior roles, or objectives, of the unit. Now the design basis of the unit's primary objective is that it possesses an incredibly powerful attack against specifically these units. However, in return for this extensive capacity, the unit must suffer deficits in some regard. The Viking is not a particularly quick unit, for example. However, more importantly, its capacity to fulfill one of its secondary objectives (being a general ground combatant and harassing unit) is reduced greatly via its underwhelming ground form damage output and its required transformation time to do so. Now by giving the Viking the capacity to target ground units, we have directly impacted its primary design objective. We've taken "a unit with an adept anti-armored/anti-massive capacity against flying units” and tacked on “and ground units”. Because the Viking was designed to be very weak against ground forces as a cost of its large flying mode anti-armored damage output, allowing it to use that large damage output against ground forces changes the conditions of the units design. The “deal” was that the Viking can hit like a truck against armored flying units, but only because of its susceptibility to ground forces. By granting the Viking the ability to target ground units, we've essentially broken the deal (and obviously the unit under those circumstances). This is an example of how adding the capacity to target a unit type can alter the purpose of the unit. Now let's look at an example where it doesn't.

    Let's use the Corruptor Now if we were to allow the unit to target ground forces, how would it affect the unit's design objectives/purpose? The primary objective of the Corruptor is very obviously targeted at large massive units. They possess an excellent damage bonus against massive units, and an ability largely targeted towards allowing them to deal even more damage against larger units (as Corrupt is obviously less effective against and not intended for small units). However the basis around which the unit is built is quite different from the Viking. In turn for being extremely effective against massive units, the Corruptor has relatively lackluster damage output against non-massive flying units. Obviously Corrupt is still quite useful against these units, but their damage output against them overall is significantly lower. While the unit has a secondary objective and capacity against non-massive flying units, it is built more to deter or distract them, in part due to the design choice to make it a very durable unit. If we were to give the Corruptor the ability to target ground forces with its attack, would its primary objective and the purpose of the unit be changed or altered in any way? Absolutely not. While the ability to target ground forces might allow some general combat capability and harassment potential for the Corruptor, these become secondary objectives and a backseat role for the unit. Ultimately the Corruptor's nature as an flying unit targeted against massive units doesn't change, and so the unit retains the same “purpose” of its original design, but is instead only given new ulterior uses. This is an example of when adding the ability to target a particular unit type (flying/nonflying) doesn't affect the overall role of the unit. Everything depends on how the unit is built and what the conditions of its design is.

    Now let's talk about the Colossus. Let us look at the basis of the Colossus' design. Firstly, it is a fairly fast, versatile, and long range unit with some potentially intense damage output. As a cost for this proficiency, the Colossus itself is quite delicate, expensive, and high tech. This all makes sense so far. Obviously a unit with extreme damage capability can't be anything other than an expensive high tech unit. Making the Colossus delicate doesn't pose any immediate downside to the unit's design given its already long range. Now Blizzard I feel struggled over this unit as they realized that the cost of this unit's potential damage output simply wasn't a sufficient trade for how powerful they wanted the unit to be. Thus they introduce the Colossus' vulnerability to air units. This fits with the aesthetic of the unit, as a tall armored/massive Protoss battle walker/strider, and was complimented by the Colossus' preexisting delicateness. So now when we look at our finished design basis we have...

    A fairly fast, long range unit with intense damage output.
    A unit that is fairly delicate itself, relying on dealing damage indirectly and is not meant to be in the thick of battle
    A unit that, as a cost for its potential damage output, is vulnerable to units targeted against massive/armored air units

    The primary objective and role of our Colossus is to function as a form of heavy fire support for the Protoss with the attributes and drawbacks we've mentioned above. Now let's take a look at the Carrier.

    Unforunately the Carrier shares each and every one of these qualities and the exact same primary objective as the Colossus. Now admittedly, the Carrier does this under a more interesting model. The Carrier itself is like the Colossus, fairly fast, versatile unit with the potential for some intense long-range damage output. The cost for the Carrier's potential damage output is, once again like the Colossus, the delicate nature of the Carrier itself and its high resource and tech requirements. Now the Carrier is built around being vulnerable itself, as the source of its damage output is actually from the Interceptors it produces and not from the actual Carrier. Given that and its vulnerable nature, it therefore never wants to be in the thick of battle itself, and instead prefers to deal its damage indirectly. So now when we look at our finished design basis we have...

    A fairly fast, versatile, and long range unit with intense damage output
    A unit that is fairly delicate itself, relying on dealing damage indirectly and is not meant to be in the thick of battle
    A unit that, as a cost for its potential damage output, is vulnerable to units targeted against massive/armored air units.

    The primary objective and role of our Carrier is to function as a form of heavy fire support for the Protoss with the attirbutes and drawbacks mentioned above. This is virtually identical to the Colossus.

    “The Carrier can attack air units”

    As demonstrated before with our examination of the Corruptor and Viking, adding the ability for a unit to target a particular unit type (flying/nonflying) doesn't always impact the primary objective and purpose of the unit itself. The Carrier is another instance of this. If we were to remove the Carrier's ability to target air units the design basis, primary objective, and role of the unit would remain largely unchanged. However that isn't to say the unit would be unaffected. Removing the Carrier's ability to target air units only diminishes its ability to fulfillingly accomplish its primary directives, and possibly removes or alters secondary objectives. Ultimately however, the core of the unit remains the same. The Carrier as it is possesses the capacity to attack air units, but this only allows it to fulfill its function more often as it is now more versatile. What that function is remains unchanged and nearly identical to the Colossus.

    We can see this dynamic again if we experiment with giving the Colossus the ability to target air units (HA could you imagine?). The Colossus' primary objective would remain largely unchanged, but it would garner some possible secondary uses. Well I suppose its primary objective would change from "heavy fire support" to "ridiculous fire support"
    Now that having been said, I agree absolutely with the rest of your post. Protoss desperately needs some anti-air love come HOTS. I have a very serious issue with how Blizzard isn't seemingly examining the rest of the Stargate lineup. Having an awesome new capital ship and harassment unit is great and all, but the Phoenix and the Void Ray remain desperately in need of some attention. The Phoenix admittedly less so, and might just need a numbers buff or something like making Graviton Beam a timed ability rather than an energy one. The Void Ray however might require a reexamination of its design principles because as it stands, the unit receives scarcely any use outside of occasional use in PvZ openers (where as I discuss in my article, it is used so as to abuse Zerg's lack of anti-air rather than for what it was designed to do).






    From "RAGEMOAR The Pope" in the Teamliquid thread:

    ...Colossus are ridiculously good, but you would never think to yourself "Colossus are so good, I'm only going to make them!" Same applies to capital ships. If they see you make capital ships and can build air to air with impunity they're going to be much, much worse. Terran and zerg already spam vikings / corrupters in the MU, making a capital ship worthless without protection.


    I'm inclined to disagree. Obviously no high tech units are intended to be used in isolation. For example, Broodlords will almost always have units accompanying and protecting them, as do Colossi and as have Carriers in the limited use they've seen throughout WoL. As it stands, Stalkers and High Templar can do an excellent job of deterring Vikings and Corruptors from harassing or destroying higher tech Protoss units (be they Colossi or Carriers). Buffing/changing the Protoss' smaller, more complimentary air units like the Void Ray or Phoenix to a point of viability where, like Gateway units, they are capable of regularly and consistently protecting your priority units is a whole different topic and requires some examination and analysis of those units as well. I mention the Void Ray briefly in my examination of the Tempest specifically to demonstrate why a niche unit design might not be particularly ideal. Obviously using the Void Ray as an example in that manner suggests that I don't think the unit as it stands is particularly ideal or adept.

    As for your comment about preexisting Viking/Corruptor production, I address this at length in my analysis. Due to the similarity between the Colossus and any capital ship the Protoss will ever possess, this will always be an issue. Colossi are massive, armored, and to the Vikings, an air unit. This is exactly what any capital ship will be. Blizzard realized this I believe, which is why they've introduced the Tempest. Their solution to this dilemna is not to make Vikings/Corruptors ineffective against Colossi or the Protoss capital ship, but instead require them to be used in an entirely different manner, not only adding some interesting gameplay possibilities to the matchup but allowing Protoss players to better counteract preexisting Vikings/Corruptors through clever positioning and defense of their capital ships.
    When Colossi are on the field, Vikings/Corruptors are almost always used in one particular way to negate them: simply focus firing the Colossi while the player's main force distracts and absorbs the damage from the units that are meant to defend them. By introducing an extremely long range siege capital ship intended to be behind or often outside the Protoss player's army, new inter-unit dynamics are introduced. Vikings are meant to be roaming across the map flanking or sniping vulnerable Tempests (as they are meant to be apart from the Protoss' army). This has two fascinating implications. Firstly that the Vikings receive a far more dynamic relationship with a unit they're intended to counter than they have before. There is (and intended to be) a very different and far more interesting use required of the Vikings/Corruptors to combat the Tempest than for fighting Colossi. Secondly Blizzard is actually indirectly encouraging players to experiment more with harass centered around the Viking's ground attack form (which is clearly an intended purpose behind the unit's design), as they're meant to be already out on the map (away from the deathball) in order to properly counteract the Tempests.



    This isn't true. While inter-race balance is most definitely important, intra-race balance is also important. If a unit is too weak or too strong relative to other options within its own race, that's still worth fixing.

    I don't think it takes any stretch of the imagination to say that the other equivalent tech units (Colossus, Templar) are more effective in the vast majority of situations.

    The hardest part of fixing this sort of a problem is something that can't be buffed up to the level of the other options without destabilizing the balance against other races. But that's not the case here. There's plenty of room for the Carrier, and probably also the Tempest, to be more effective across the board. And I doubt that any adjustment to the capital ships will result in people not using Colossi and Templar.

    The point behind this is that there's more to balancing than just race vs race matchups.


    Hi! Firstly, not to be curt or anything of the like, but I did use the term "usually" in my description. Intra-race balance is absolutely important. However, the best way to make it so the viability of units are in line with one another is to make it such that they are each geared towards a different role. In a theoretically perfect world, each tech tree would offer different advantages and disadvantages and players would choose what they want to do base on their strategy/personal preference/playstyle/etc.

    Now the issue here is that the Carrier and the Colossus have overlapping roles. And they do. I explain why this is at the beginning of my write-up but admittedly with not nearly as much depth as the subject requires. I've included an much more in-depth explanation as to why it is the case in the subsection for further explanations/justifications/clarifications/retorts at the bottom of my original post (here and on the TL thread).

    One of the primary reasons that Blizzard cannot do a straight up "numbers buff" on the Carrier is that the unit needs to retain its vulnerability to Corruptors/Vikings as per the basis of its design. Carriers become increasingly powerful in larger numbers, but if they are too powerful units like Corruptors/Vikings will no longer be able to consistently and effectively counteract the unit, which is what they're designed to do. Blizzard has realized this which is why they're circumventing the "preexisting Corruptors-Vikings/Colossus/Capital Ship" issue by introducing the Tempest. I go into further depth as to what I believe they're trying to accomplish in the write-up as it stands.
    Hey man great post :)
    nice read, keep the carrier! @Archer come read this? :D
    08/23/2012 01:15 PMPosted by Nordis
    nice read, keep the carrier! @Archer come read this? :D
    It was already linked in his Carrier thread :) He probably already read it, or is reading it as we speak :P
    Cool, I am picking through it! ::::D

    I've had a thought. As the chief capital ship of the Protoss during BW, one would assume the carrier would be used to conduct obibital bombardments. That role has been superceded, it seems, by the mothership, the voidray (partially) and now the tempest.

    I think the carrier should launch interceptor, but have like a option for bombardment as well. Like, a spell for blowing stuff up (like planet cracker or 250mm cannons, but unlike yamato gun), or and option for switching between it's main guns and the interceptor (like a battlestar, less carrier).

    If the carrier gets other interceptor types, those aren't interceptors, and should be call as such. Instead they would be bombers, fighters, attackers, etc. Fighter roles, basically.
    Great read, would reccomend to anyone participating in the whole tempest/carrier debacle.
    Holy crap. That was spectacular. 12/10, and I'm not talking about a worker rush.

    However, I question a point of premise. The Carrier and the Colossus are often confused with regards to roles. People continually say that the Colossus is a Siege unit. This isn't the case. The Colossus provides heavy fire support for the core units in the Protoss army. The only reason it has a long range is so it can sit at the back of the deathball, and be more easily protected. The role of the Colossus is similar to that of the Hydra in the Roach/Hydra composition - Roaches/Zealots tank the damage, while Hydras/Colossi work away at the opponent's army.

    Carriers are far more similar to Siege Tanks or Brood Lords. They are slower, but have far greater range than average, and do respectable damage. The Carrier is designed to sit over a terrain feature or cliff and steadily bombard the enemy. This is what Blizzard designed the Tempest for. In effect, the Carrier is already "repurposed to fill the Tempest's role", it just isn't doing a very good job of it. For proposed mechanics changes, see my thread:
    http://us.battle.net/sc2/en/forum/topic/6307521618

    As always, I'm fully supportive of new Interceptor types. I find the Interceptor Patrol command an interesting idea too. The whole thing of directing firepower away from the unit's actual location is a very interesting and unconventional topic, and I'd like to see that explored a bit more. If any mapmaker can find out how to do this, please do!
    In these super late game stages where players build massive, slower, and higher tech armies zone control becomes less relevant

    This is the only thing that stands out that'd I'd disagree with. As armies become more powerful and immobile, it's easier for the enemy to send just a small number of units in all directions and do some damage. Oracles, Ghosts, Nydus Worms, all become more powerful when armies are staring each other down. Heck, even lone Broodlords or a couple landed Vikings can do significant damage when the enemy can't afford to send something to defend against them.

    My thought for the Carrier, before I heard about the redesigned Tempest, was kind of similar (or exactly the same). It was that they could spawn Interceptors without a target, and the Interceptors could roam freely so long as they stay within a radius around the Carrier (I was thinking 11, right between Carrier firing range and range Interceptors continue to attack). Upon leaving the radius, they are forced back into it.
    But being able to leave the Carrier like that, the Carrier is a bit safer, so the Interceptors were re-imagined as more durable with less damage output.

    Then I gave up and just watched them introduce a unit with 22 range.
    You should post the whole thing in the OP. Great work. Don't agree with it 100% but you make allot of valid points. You put allot of thought into what unit design really means. I also like your impartial observations. Comments like this show its not just about liking the carrier more or the tempest more. Your taking a look at how the units impact gameplay.

    It would appear that one of the Carrier issues that contributed to them deciding to remove the unit was that Colossi were popular to the point of Terran players often already having Vikings on the field, disincentivizing players from transitioning at any point into Carriers. Curiously, however, it seems that in the recently released TvP HOTS Battle Report the Terran player was primarily using Vikings to counteract the Tempest. And how couldn't he? Vikings deal excellent damage against massive, armored targets like the Tempest (such as the Broodlord, the Colossus, etc). Blizzard has seemingly ended up with one of the exact issues they had on the Carrier on their brand new unit.
    Interestingly, this is where the design basis of the Tempest (a zone control and long range gradual siege unit) really shows its brilliance. Firstly, by replacing the Carrier with a unit meant to be usually behind or generally separated from your army, Blizzard has essentially pulled a unit out of the deathball. An unsurprising move, considering how many of the HOTS units are meant to be used outside of the deathball (Swarm Hosts, Oracles, etc). Secondly Blizzard knows that due to the viability and versatility of the Colossus, a Protoss capital ship will almost always have the issue of Vikings already being out on the field. The Vikings(or Corruptors, for that matter) are effective against Colossi because they are massive, armored, and to the Vikings, an air unit. This is exactly what any capital ship will be. So what did Blizzard do?
    They brought in the Tempest. The Tempest's design as a long range gradual siege unit allows it to be less severely negated by preexisting Vikings on the field. As mentioned before, due to its extremely long range but vulnerable nature, Tempests are intended to often be away from or behind the army. Because of this design choice, while Vikings still counter the unit quite effectively, they are required to be used in an entirely different way than they have before in the matchup, creating some very exciting new gameplay possibilities.


    One area where I disagree with you is how much the Carrier needs to change. Blizzard has a philosophy that if you change you unit to much you have to ask yourself if its still the same unit. I believe there is allot of grey area in whats too much change. Perhaps the fans love of the Carrier should mean that the Carrier can undergo more change than a unit normally would.

    On the other hand we all remember the fan backlash when the Carrier was given the old Tempests unit model. Changing an iconic unit can start to diminish what made it iconic in the first place. Ultimately, I dont think im decided yet on how far you can change the Carrier before it stops being the Carrier but I would much rather see some change attempted than just tossing out the Carrier without trying anything.
    Cool, I am picking through it! ::::D

    I've had a thought. As the chief capital ship of the Protoss during BW, one would assume the carrier would be used to conduct obibital bombardments. That role has been superceded, it seems, by the mothership, the voidray (partially) and now the tempest.

    I think the carrier should launch interceptor, but have like a option for bombardment as well. Like, a spell for blowing stuff up (like planet cracker or 250mm cannons, but unlike yamato gun), or and option for switching between it's main guns and the interceptor (like a battlestar, less carrier).

    If the carrier gets other interceptor types, those aren't interceptors, and should be call as such. Instead they would be bombers, fighters, attackers, etc. Fighter roles, basically.


    *lore glasses on*

    during the first Great War and the Brood War, the carrier was the ship that was used to purify the planets that were infested with zerg, such as Mar Sara, Chau Sara, and Antiga Prime. the weapons however were not well suited to ship-to-ship or atmospheric combat, or any combat where they didnt want the planet incinerated actually. The motherships were not brought into service until some time after the brood war, having served as exploration vessels and monuments of the protoss golden age up until that point. Void Rays, as near as i can tell, have more or less been abandones as a capital ship by blizzard.
    Hi! I've just recently finished a write-up about Protoss capital ships, and their past, present, and future. It is a very long read and contains some extremely in depth analysis of unit design, but I believe it makes some very valid points that Blizzard (and people in general) should see. Don't be discouraged by its length!

    http://www.teamliquid.net/blogs/viewblog.php?topic_id=362676


    I've seen longer...but good read.
    One area where I disagree with you is how much the Carrier needs to change. Blizzard has a philosophy that if you change you unit to much you have to ask yourself if its still the same unit. I believe there is allot of grey area in whats too much change. Perhaps the fans love of the Carrier should mean that the Carrier can undergo more change than a unit normally would.

    On the other hand we all remember the fan backlash when the Carrier was given the old Tempests unit model. Changing an iconic unit can start to diminish what made it iconic in the first place. Ultimately, I dont think im decided yet on how far you can change the Carrier before it stops being the Carrier but I would much rather see some change attempted than just tossing out the Carrier without trying anything.


    This is a very valid concern. What exactly is the Carrier? Admittedly, different people like different things about the Carrier. Some people like how the unit functions as it is. Some people like all the awesome micro tricks and whatnot you could do with the Carrier in Brood War. Some people just like the lore, or the idea of the unit. Changing the Carrier to keep it in cannot and will not appease everybody, but I believe it does a pretty good job of appeasing most people. We keep the unit itself firstly, so anyone who likes the lore/the idea of the unit itself is content. We also keep the Interceptors and a large part of their relationship to the Carrier. The unit will in no way function as it did in Brood War or does now, but it can potentially have a very high skill cap and some very interesting potential usage. Keeping that in mind I think we've done a good job of keeping most people happy. Especially Blizzard who can accomplish the purpose and role they wanted the Tempest to fulfill without having to remove such an iconic unit.
    Very nice post. Thank you for it.
    Very good post.
    I'm too tired to get through the length tonight, but I'll be looking for it tomorrow!
    great posts, I do have some responses:

    08/23/2012 01:03 PMPosted by Vindicarian
    As long as the Tempest is dealing single target damage, it is impossible for the unit to serve as both zone control and long range gradual siege.


    While I understand the roles are contradicting, I don't see a reason it can't achieve both to a reasonable level (not perfectly, just well). It might do enough single target burst damage to 1 shot a marine/ling an eternity before the engagement even starts, but have a large enough attack speed that it would be only moderately efficient in breaking a front. losing a unit, no matter how cheap, every few seconds is a decent deterrent, especially considering the tempests decent speed.

    Forcing 1-2 more units, per tempest, for a flank/counter attack can tip the balance of how worth it that attack could be. it might be worth it to run 8 marauders behind enemy lines to try and snipe a robo bay, but is it worth it to run 10 or 12 for the same chance of success?

    08/23/2012 01:03 PMPosted by Vindicarian
    In these super late game stages where players build massive, slower, and higher tech armies zone control becomes less relevant


    While i think this is a valid statement for more normal zone control, positioning is everything in an even maxed battle. The tempest does best vs these slower, higher tech armies, and would give protoss much more control over what position that fight happens on. This is also why I feel:

    08/23/2012 01:03 PMPosted by Vindicarian
    At the end of the day, smaller, quicker, nonmassive units will primarily be the kind of units you need to repel with a zone control unit.


    Isn't quite accurate for the tempest. the tempest is to take area from other zone control units, and from those slow, heavy siege units.

    08/23/2012 01:03 PMPosted by Vindicarian
    Protoss, who are renowned for the grandeur and power of their war machines.


    A minute point, but the dark templar (current source of new protoss tech) specialize far more in fighting underhanded and forcing out every advantage they can.

    08/23/2012 01:03 PMPosted by Vindicarian
    So the Protoss unit makes an active effort to deter those Vikings with units of his own.


    not necessarily true, since the tempest is supposed to be a faster capital ship with an average move speed (equal to that of a viking) with slow acceleration. This means the tempest can go decently far from the death ball, attack, and return to that army at virtually no risk. The tempest can threaten more area than the apparent 22.

    I'd love the carrier to survive, but it doesn't seem to be happening. I also love the tempest, for what it adds to the race. Hopefully some of my points are at least thought provoking, the tempest is not that far from ideal.
    I like you.
    08/23/2012 01:03 PMPosted by Vindicarian
    Balance usually involves more than one race. Obviously for something to be “imbalanced” there has to be another race with which the unit in question is being examined.

    This isn't true. While inter-race balance is most definitely important, intra-race balance is also important. If a unit is too weak or too strong relative to other options within its own race, that's still worth fixing.

    I don't think it takes any stretch of the imagination to say that the other equivalent tech units (Colossus, Templar) are more effective in the vast majority of situations.

    The hardest part of fixing this sort of a problem is something that can't be buffed up to the level of the other options without destabilizing the balance against other races. But that's not the case here. There's plenty of room for the Carrier, and probably also the Tempest, to be more effective across the board. And I doubt that any adjustment to the capital ships will result in people not using Colossi and Templar.

    The point behind this is that there's more to balancing than just race vs race matchups.
    Why can't they cap the number of targets a tempest's projectile would hit as AoE? Like once the ball hits it launches a chain lightning type attack (ala WC3) which hit's up to 5 additional targets. That removes the issue with the clumps of units and the need to split constantly.
    Text........... wall.........

    But otherwise, a great idea. I hope Blizzard see's this and ACTUALLY PAYS ATTENTION FOR ONCE IN THEIR EXISTENCE.

    Join the Conversation

    Return to Forum